Recommendations as Treatments: Debiasing Learning and Evaluation
Proceedings of The 33rd International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 48:1670-1679, 2016.
Most data for evaluating and training recommender systems is subject to selection biases, either through self-selection by the users or through the actions of the recommendation system itself. In this paper, we provide a principled approach to handle selection biases by adapting models and estimation techniques from causal inference. The approach leads to unbiased performance estimators despite biased data, and to a matrix factorization method that provides substantially improved prediction performance on real-world data. We theoretically and empirically characterize the robustness of the approach, and find that it is highly practical and scalable.